With just a few days in Berlin, here are a few tips on what to see and do, great tours to book, plus some of my favourite places to eat in the city!
As you’ll have seen in my recent blog, I’ve just got back from Berlin! I was there for four days and spent one of them exploring the IGA Berlin 2017 – the huge garden show that’s on until October. It was my first time in the city and I was REALLY excited to see and do as much as possible.
The history of Berlin is complex, but one I’d recommend reading up on. It’s multi-layered and obviously has very dark patches, but despite not being a history buff, I enjoyed learning what the city had been through. As I explored on foot, I felt like the city made more sense to me.
While I did some research on where to go, I also let myself explore, you know… get lost! The result? Some great places to eat, views, and spots to recommend to you guys.
How To Travel Around Berlin
Hurrah, a city with a great transport network! I used Google Maps to navigate the city, and other than not always being sure which side of the road I needed to catch the tram from, it was an easy experience. The U Bahn (subway system is really simple to understand, and trains come regularly (every few mins in peak times). There are trams and buses too. The part I found strange was that you don’t show tickets very often or pass through barriers to enter public transport. I’ve heard that people buy tickets as there are strong penalties if you’re caught without – so just don’t risk it!
I’d recommend picking up a Berlin Welcome Card. Along with discounts at many attractions in the city, it also covers your public transport for the duration of your trip. It also includes travel to and from the airport. I ordered mine in advance, printed it at home, and used it right from the start of my trip from Berlin Airport.
Berlin City Sights
There’s SO much to see and do in Berlin, and at times it feels so big (particularly with there not being just one centre). As mentioned, the transport system is excellent, so you really can see a lot, even if you only have a short time.
Head to the Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate. If you apply in advance you can visit the beautiful dome of the Reichstag (find out how here). The Monument To The Murdered Jews is so moving, and a walk through the towering columns is something I’d urge anyone to experience as part of their trip. Museum Island is stunning and I also loved exploring the many courtyards of Hackesche Höfe. Tucked away, it really is a stunning part of the city! There’s also an amazing street with street art there, just next to the Anne Frank Museum.
Visit The East Side Gallery
Over 100 Artists from all over the world were invited to paint murals on the remaining section of the Berlin Wall in 1990. It’s now a brightly-coloured, outdoor gallery and while most are a direct comment on the political state of the world when the wall came down, some seem as relevant today as they did back then. Take your time looking at each mural – they have so many incredible details, and are worth more than the photo-and-go that the coach loads of tourists do.
After my time in the city, I’d say this Sunday market is so quintessentially Berlin! There are hundreds of stalls selling everything from vintage clothes and antiques, to handmade jewellery and the most random of nic-nacs. There’s also a huge street food section with plenty of great smells to lure you in! Then in the park area you’ll find performers, street artists and the legendary Sunday karaoke (which draws huge crowds!) It was one of my highlights of my time in Berlin.
Berlin’s tallest building offers the best (and most central) views of the city. Once in the lift, you’ll venture upwards at speeds of 6m per second to the observation deck – a height of 203m.
Top tip – check out their offers. When I visited they were running a fast view ticket, with coffee and cake served in Sphere Restaurant for just 20.50 EUR. Considering a fast view ticket on its own is 19.50 EUR, it’s a great deal, but it only runs between 2-4pm on weekdays.